This blog was co-written by Stephanie Forrester.
Traditionally, men make up the workforce and manage the finances. But welcome to the 21st century, where women are more involved in and more confident in managing financial matters. And they certainly need to be.
On average across the globe, women outlive men by a full five years. So, a woman’s financial aptitude has become increasingly important — and it doesn’t matter if they are married or single.
Let’s look at some SKILLS (Security, Knowledge, Information, Longevity, Listening and Simplification) that may help you in your financial life.
The statistics don’t lie: With women outliving men, there’s a good chance they will eventually be responsible for taking over the finances of their household. Unfortunately, money continues to be a difficult topic of discussion, even among partners. And so the reality is, learning and understanding finances (i.e., being secure with the ins and outs of financial matters) may fall back on women at some point in time.
For example, did you know that women may be entitled to their spouse’s (or even ex-spouse’s) Social Security benefit upon their passing? The earlier women start searching for this security, the better shape they will be in.
In recent decades, the number of women working outside the home has grown tremendously. In fact, nearly 47% of the U.S. workers are women! Additionally, women have been taking on male-dominated fields by storm, with their employment in these areas growing 5% in 2017.
So, if women are working in male-dominated fields, what is stopping them from learning about the finances which historically have been handled by the men? With the flexibility of working anytime and anywhere, women now have the opportunity to play an active role in those meetings and ask questions.
This is important, too — women continue to experience a wage gap and often earn less than men overall by taking more unpaid leave to care for children or aging parents. By sitting in on meetings with an advisor, these questions can be addressed directly and planned for. Not only will this ensure all needs are being considered, but it also will build a stronger relationship between women and their financial advisor.
Trust us, you’re going to have questions. Financial knowledge does not develop overnight. By actively participating in meetings with an advisor, women can address their questions directly.
Searching for financial security and attending meetings will not immediately address what’s necessary to grasp where the household is financially. So the next thing women want is the information used to build out a financial plan. What accounts should she be investing in, and what does her family currently have? Are they saving enough, or can she retire early?
These questions may sound simple on the surface, but without an education in these general areas, diving deeper into the household’s financial future will be difficult.
Of course we all want our money to last through-out our lifetimes.
Having an estate plan in place that clearly spells out how the assets of the estate will be distributed is important. This can be done via will or by creating a Trust. We recommend reviewing your estate documents with your attorney every three to five years or when there is a life event.
Having a financial plan can help you envision your future and how that wealth might grow or deplete over time.
Women want to be heard when addressing their fears related to their finances. They want their advisors to really listen to them as they talk about their concerns of outliving their spouse and managing the finances on their own. Making that personal connection with their financial advisor is key to a trusting relationship. An advisor who makes it a priority to understand both spouses’ perspectives on wealth and financial health can be an advocate of getting women involved in the family finances now versus after a death of a spouse.
Creating a financial plan does not have to be complex. Part of it is just looking forward over a number of years and understand how investing assets into a diversified portfolio based on your time horizon and risk tolerance could help you achieve your long-term financial goals.
Working with a financial advisor can help you envision your future and help you plan for getting what you want … financially that is.
Are you ready to start planning for your financial future? Let us help.